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Super Rugby
Taranaki shift allegiance from Canes to Chiefs
ESPN Staff
December 10, 2013
Taranaki's Kurt Baker gives an instruction, Counties Manukau v Taranaki, ITM Cup, Ranfurly Shield, ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe, on September 15, 2013
Taranaki is now associated with the Chiefs rather than the Hurricanes © Getty Images
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Taranaki have switched Super Rugby allegiance to the Chiefs, ending a 17-year alliance with the Wellington-based Hurricanes, after the Taranaki Rugby Union was among a group of private investors and five other provincial unions granted a seven-year licence by the New Zealand Rugby Union. The new organisation will be known as Chiefs Rugby Club Limited Partnership.

Under the new agreement, the Chiefs will play two games in New Plymouth in each of the 2014 and 2015 Super Rugby seasons. The defending champions will play their first game at Yarrow Stadium against the Blues on May 9 next year, returning three weeks later to play New South Wales Waratahs.

Taranaki union chairman Lindsay Thomson said inclusion in the Chiefs region would play a huge role in developing rugby across the province. "Having high-quality games in our own back yard allows us to foster and grow the game in the Taranaki province," he said.

Waikato Stadium will continue to host a minimum of five home games a year, with six competition games played in Hamilton next season.

The Counties Manukau, Waikato, Thames Valley, Bay of Plenty, King Country and Taranaki provincial unions have made a $NZ 3.3 million investment into Chiefs Rugby Club Limited Partnership - the unions providing 50% of the capital investment. A number of private investors contribute the remaining 50%.

Chiefs chief executive Andrew Flexman was pleased to involve the area's provincial unions in the investor group. "With Taranaki joining us, we look forward to embracing the fans in one of New Zealand's most passionate rugby communities," he said.

Chiefs chairman Dallas Fisher described as a "significant project" the past nine months' work to pull together the required commercial structures. "We now have the ability to invest in the future and continue to develop the Chiefs Rugby Club while providing resources to ensure our organisation continues to be world class."

An establishment board has been set up to oversee the process of appointing a new seven-strong board over the next two months, comprising five independent directors and two investor appointees.

© AAP

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